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Originally published Saturday, December 23, 2006 at 12:00 AM

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Huskies men now fly toward Pac-10

The Washington Huskies probably won't get away with this the next time they face teams called either WSU or the Wildcats. Against the Weber State...

Seattle Times staff reporter

In the words of Washington coach Lorenzo Romar, it started off weird.

When it ended, however, there was a lot more wonderful than weird for the Washington Huskies, who overcame a sluggish start to beat Weber State University 80-51 Friday night at Edmundson Pavilion. It was the last game for the Huskies before the beginning of Pac-10 play next week at USC and UCLA.

"If we start like we did today, we are going to be down by 30 to either team at halftime," said Washington forward Jon Brockman, referring to UW's early 11-point deficit.

Fortunately, the opponent Friday night was Weber State of the Big Sky Conference.

And just as fortunately, the Huskies had Brockman and Spencer Hawes on their side, as each picked up where they left off two nights before against Louisiana State to lead the Huskies to their 10th victory in 11 games this season.

Hawes tied his career-high of 23 points he set against LSU, while Brockman had his fifth double-double of the season in finishing with 18 points and 12 rebounds.

Hawes hit 10 of 14 shots, and again they came in a dazzling variety of dunks, jumpers and, to finish it off, a left-handed hook.

Brockman, benched briefly in the first two minutes for some wild play, was so active he earned a congratulatory nudge from Romar after diving out of bounds for a loose ball.

"He played so hard and with so much energy," Romar said.

"He has now begun to replace Bobby Jones in terms of that energy. The energy we lost with Bobby, Jon is providing for us," the coach said in reference to one of his star players on the squad last season.

Early on, however, Brockman admittedly had too much energy.

"I was going about 110 [miles per hour] when I should have been going about 65," said Brockman, who missed a layin, got called for goaltending and had a turnover in the first 90 seconds to earn a brief spot on the bench.

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Everyone else, however, seemed at half-speed.

The Huskies came out, in Brockman's words, "flat, with no energy, no intensity, no real organization." It was a stark contrast to the torrid beginning against LSU, but also probably to be expected given the emotion of that victory Wednesday night.

That coupled with Weber State's deliberate offense and a 2-3 zone defense confused Washington early to help give the Wildcats a 21-10 lead with 10:33 left in the first half.

But the UW players huddled separately from the coaches during a timeout in an attempt to put some life in themselves.

"We just said 'We can't do this. This is embarrassing. We are embarrassing ourselves,' " Brockman said.

Soon after that, the Huskies scored 14 in a row, finally taking the lead on a baseline drive and dunk in between two defenders by Quincy Pondexter with 7:01 left in the half.

From there, the Huskies gradually pulled away, leading 38-30 at halftime. They then held Weber State scoreless from the 16:08 mark of the second half to the 7:28 mark, while scoring 11 points of their own to turn the game into the expected rout.

The sight of Brockman sitting on the bench 90 seconds into the game, however, wasn't the only weird aspect of the night.

Ryan Appleby went just 1 for 10 from the field and the Huskies were 2 of 17 from three-point range, their worst performance of the season.

"I don't ever remember shooting like this," Romar said.

But the Huskies can suddenly afford some off shooting from the perimeter with Hawes and Brockman dominating inside.

"They are piranhas on the glass," Weber State coach Randy Rahe said of the Huskies, who outrebounded the Wildcats 47-24. "They are big and strong and they are athletic."

Hawes and Brockman have combined to score 83 points and grab 47 rebounds in the past two games (Hawes 46 and 21, Brockman 37 and 26) as their teammates increasingly are looking their way.

"We are definitely changing a little bit in style," Hawes said. "We're looking inside more than we have in the past."

Now the Huskies look down south to a date with USC on Thursday, followed by a game at No. 1-ranked UCLA next Sunday, and the beginning of the games that really count.

"I think we are in a real good position," Hawes said. "We have one loss and we learned a lot from it and made a lot of improvements and we are headed on the right foot."

Bob Condotta: 206-515-5699 or bcondotta@seattletimes.com. Read his blogs on Washington football and basketball at www.seattletimes.com/huskies.

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